Posted by Coach Dave Stricklin on May 14, 2015
Have you ever noticed those players who never seem to make a mistake? It doesn't matter how many turnovers they might have or how many shots they miss or how many times their man scores or gets an offensive rebound - it's NEVER their fault!
If anything "bad" ever happens on the court to one of these players it's because his teammate couldn't catch the ball, the referee didn't like him, the coach called the wrong offense, or no one helped him out on defense.
Unfortunately, most of us know at least one of those types of players. In fact, this type of player is so common former Notre Dame Coach, Lou Holtz, likes to say, "The guy who complains how the ball bounces is usually the one who dropped it!"
There's also a couple other guys who are just as annoying. First is the guy who played a good game; maybe even a great game but who is looking for some undeserved sympathy.
This guy readily tells everyone "It was my fault," hoping that those who hear him will say "No it's not - you were awesome!" Look, I'm all for a player who willingly shoulders the blame to take the pressure or attention off of his teammates but I have no respect for the guy who does it just to make himself look heroic.
The second is the "My bad" guy. Everything is his fault - even when/if it's not. First of all it removes all the accountability from everyone else and secondly, when the guy does screw up and says "My bad," no one knows whether he actually believes it or not!
The ironic thing is that whenever anyone plays the blame game, everybody loses. Unlike the game of basketball itself where there is always a clear cut winner and loser, those who participate in the blame game in any capacity never win. Why? First of all, the average fan has heard so many athletes and coaches make excuses and blame others that they just don't believe them anymore. In fact, the only people who believe a player when he is blaming someone else for his mistakes and shortcomings is the player himself and his parents! No one is fooled!
Secondly, blaming others and making excuses is one of the quickest ways possible to lose the respect of your teammates and coaches and once you lose their respect it's extremely difficult to ever get it back. Of course, the same is true if you half-heartedly take the blame if it's not warranted and/or take the blame for everything. Coaches and teammates on all levels want honesty and accountability from every member of the squad.
Making mistakes and then using them as learning opportunities is standard practice if you really want to accelerate your development and improvement as a player. If you are one of those players who never make a mistake then you are simply not going to improve as quickly as your competition. Therefore, there is absolutely nothing wrong with making a mistake or not performing as well as you can as long as it serves as a catalyst for improvement.
The key is to take responsibility for your own actions and for your own development and to never, ever, play the blame game!